The Orbit Tower, Olympic Park Stratford East London 2012

The Orbit Tower unveiled for Stratford Olympics Site

I must have been out of touch recently because I wasn’t even aware there had been a series of proposals for building a large tower at Stratford East London, to make a landmark art installation at the 2012 Olympics Site. Now the winner has been chosen and launched under the title of “The ArcelorMittal Orbit” or The Orbit Tower for short, by world renowned artist Anish Kapoor, with engineering by Cecil Balmond.

The artist’s impression unfortunately fails to excite the imagination of many Londoners who have seen it online, leaving comments such as “It’s a mess”, “bloooming ugly” and “looks like a rollercoaster that’s been in an earthquake”.

The problem is that artists impressions normally manage to make ugly things look ok, but on the other hand anything by Kapoor is unlikely to look ugly in the flesh judging by his impressive list of current achievements.

Standing at 115 metres tall, the Orbit will be slightly taller than Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty, twice the height of Nelson’s Column, just short of the Great Pyramid of Giza and considerably shorter than the structure to which it is being compared – the Eiffel Tower.

As well as the aesthetics, the Stratford Orbit Tower is likely to be controversial for economic reasons. Boris Johnson, London’s current incumbent Mayor has spoken at the launch citing the need to justify all the investment that is being made in East London.

The structure gets its formal name from steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal. Mittal is the richest man in Europe, and he is the one funding the whole project. He said that this project is an incredible opportunity to build something really spectacular for London, for the Olympic games. This is something that can play a lasting role in the legacy of the games.

Mayor Johnson said that the structure will cost around £19.1 million to build. He went on to note that he is sure that some people are going to think that they are nuts, in the depths of a recession, to build the biggest piece of public art that Britain has ever seen. However, they are certain this is the right thing for Britain, and work has to be started on it right away.

Read more and view pics and video as the Orbit Tower is constructed brought into operation on the London Orbit Tower Blog

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19 Responses to The Orbit Tower, Olympic Park Stratford East London 2012

  1. Linda says:

    I still think it looks like a shisha pipe….

  2. Andy Roberts says:

    I have to admit you do have a point.

  3. Ben says:

    its awful! spend the money on something that people arent going to campaign to have demolished after the olympics!

  4. Linda says:

    Hard to demand a say when it’s not actually public money. I think the whole venture smells slightly suspect.

  5. Andy Roberts says:

    £16m of the total £19m cost is supplied in the form of free materials by the ecologically unfriendly international steel company and the remaining £3m comes from the London Development Agency.

  6. Isha says:

    I didn’t know about this. It looks like some of my knitting gone wrong, then blown up a few million times.

    I really don’t want that on the landscape next to what looks to be shaping up to be an elegant stadium 🙁

    The words “shot” and “should” come to mind.

  7. Ben says:

    Such a horrible structure
    who would think of creating something so disgusting it looks like a mangled mess of steel.
    at the moment i think tourists to Stratford will be horrified with what they see.
    with the sophistication and the clean swoops of the nearby stadiums this tower will look totaly out of place

  8. P J says:


  9. Carol Ives says:

    It is hideous. It would be better suited to Alton Towers. It’s too big and ugly and the colour is gawdy. The only thing that would make it a tad better was putting a roller coaster around it to at least make it more interesting. I come from the area and feel sorry for people who will have to look at this monstrosity for years to come. I hope it corrodes and has to be taken down.

  10. Carol Ives says:

    @ Linda. He was probably smoking a shisha pipe when he designed it!! 🙂

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  17. jeff says:

    What is that??? embarressed…my child can do better with a 99 cone and raspberry topping….unbelievable

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